War: Occupied Ukrainian city planning referendum to join Russia – Stremoussov raises alarm

The pro-Russian military administration ruling the area around the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson said it was preparing to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

The Deputy Head of Kherson’s military and civil administration, Kirill Stremoussov, said in a video published on Telegram, NAN reports.

“Yes, we are preparing for a referendum, and we will hold it,’’ Stremoussov said.

He added that Kherson should become a fully-fledged member of Russia.

The possibility of holding such a referendum in the southern Ukrainian region is not new, and previous announcements by the Moscow-imposed administration indicated it could be held in the autumn.

According to reports that emerged on Tuesday, the elected mayor of Kherson, Igor Kolychaev, had been taken into Russian forces’ custody.

Ukraine’s government has long expected that such a referendum modelled on the annexed Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, could be in the works for Kherson.

Kherson, an important port on the Black Sea, has been under full Russian control since early March.